Last night I saw my first rat that wasn't little and white and in a glass box in a pet store. It would have been loads better if it hadn't been dead. We were sitting in traffic at a red light when my husband pointed it out on the side of the road where it appeared to be rooting around in the grass behind the curb. Its bum and pink tail were in the road as if it were standing on its hind legs and it's front legs and head were bent over the curb and into the grass. There was some discussion between David and Griffin as to exactly what type of animal it was as it was very large, but I knew right away it was a rat. Rattus Norvegicus, the Norway or brown rat. I was all excited until I realized that it wasn't moving (my husband said, "Honey, it's dead. Either that or it's digging around in there really, really slowly." But hey, cut me some slack, it was nearly dark and visibility was waning fast). Still, it was my first sighting and it has to stand for something. I have always loved rats. They're amazingly intelligent and clean little animals. Extraordinary at adapting and surviving. They've also always been at the top of my "honey can I get a....?" list of potential pets for at least twenty years. I love the documentary that the Discovery Channel runs about rats every now and then. I've seen it a dozen times and it still thrills me whenever they re-run it. One of the best books I've ever read about them is RATS: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan, which is chock-a-block full of everything you'd ever want to know about the darling little creatures and then some. And anyone who knows me, knows that rats and one of my other favorite topics ironically enough go together hand-in-hand: plague. It doesn't get better than this. Here's hoping that the next time I'm lucky enough to see a real, honest to god street rat in person, it'll be alive and kicking. Maybe I should move into a dumpster in a back alley somewhere behind a busy restaurant?
Rat photo courtesy of sheppardsoftware.com. What a cutie!